Like many marketers, I’ve always been a huge fan of content; after all, it not only gives me something productive to do on the train, but it keeps me informed, too.
It also keeps me paying for cable, not to mention my monthly subscriptions for magazines, Netflix and, of course, the good old fashioned newspaper (although mainly for access to the premium content most newspapers now post behind a firewall online).
Content is not only what I love personally, however; it’s what I do professionally, and as someone more or less fully immersed in the world of content, I assume everyone else is as enamored with content consumption (and creation) as I am, too.
But turns out, in the world of talent acquisition, that’s not the case. In fact, many talent professionals and HR leaders I meet are not big fans of content, even though, it seems, most of them have some ambiguous understanding that recruiting content can play a significant role in solving their talent challenges.
How, exactly, recruiting content will solve talent acquisition’s problems remains more or less a mystery to many in the industry, which is why I put together this list of six specific talent acquisition challenges that recruiting content can actually cure.
Fascination Street: Recruiting Content Attracts More Talent.
Let’s knock this one out first: Content works. Content gets people to pay attention and become aware and engaged with your company and your ads. How can I prove that?
Well, for one, the entire television industry is based on the idea that if they produce content, you’ll stick around and watch the ads. This is a $74 billion dollar industry, dwarfing the online video industry by a factor of twenty.
The publishing, music, movie and news industries are also based on content. In fact, the entire web works because people build content worth reading or watching or listening to that can get surrounded by ads.
The question isn’t whether or not content works, but if you are going to going to use content by being a media purchaser, or if you are going to make your own content to draw those eyes your way.
Just Like Heaven: Recruiting Content Tells Candidates Why They Should Work for You.
There are plenty of people who will come to your job site purely because you put a job description online and an aggregator scraped it.
But do you really want to hire people from the “I built it and then they came” school of thought?
They aren’t really applying to your company; they are simply applying. It takes no skill to draw flies like these – just leave an orange out on the kitchen counter for a while and you’ll see what I mean.
You don’t really think your job description is accurately and engagingly portraying your company, do you?
Go look at your job description and tell me if you’d apply for that job, let alone work at that company.
The only thing that draws in candidates who are excited to work at this company (and not just any company) is content. Content tells your story. It builds a narrative. And for those elite candidates who you really want, it answers their question, “What’s in it for me?”
Recruiting content isn’t just link bait. It doesn’t just draw people in; it also pushes the wrong people away.
A candidate can see what it’s like to work there and filter themselves out if it doesn’t seem competitive enough or seems too competitive. And it does this before you and the hiring manager get their hopes up and lock in on that candidate.
Never Enough: Recruiting Content Lowers Cost Per Hire.
If you are targeting a specific job search, like management trainee, you could bid on keywords so that your ad shows up when potential candidates search that term.
At the same time, if you develop a set of great pieces all centered around the management trainee role, people would link to it and talk about it. If enough people link to it, you will rank for it.
If you rank in the top ten, you don’t have to spend money on SEM ads to be seen on those terms. You can start to organically own that term and move your SEM budget to terms that are more expensive to compete for.
And given the fact that people trust organic search results more than paid search results, you’ll have a higher click-through rate.
Close To Me: Recruiting Content Increases Your Click To Apply Ratio.
If I bought an ad that said, “Click here for free pizza and beer,” I might get double or even triple the average click-through rate of other ads (though that still wouldn’t even be 1% of all viewers).
But if those people clicked on the ad and saw a landing page all about how a fresh set of tires can keep your car healthy, how many would read the whole thing?
The thing is, traffic is easy to get. You can trick plenty of people into clicking some variation of the “free pizza and beer” ad, but good luck getting them to be interested in you once they realize they’ve been tricked.
Thus, I may get double the clicks from the ad, but I’ll get double the number of bounces. I’ll have to buy ever more clicks to get to a conversion.
This is the Click to Apply ratio: the number of people who apply for a job as a percentage of people who clicked on your ad.
A good ratio means that lots of people who liked your ad converted, meaning that your ad did a lot of good work. A bad ratio means you paid good money for traffic that didn’t apply.
Some people try to increase that ratio by tweaking the landing page (the apply button should be closer to the top, or all the way to the bottom, and it should be bright green or obviously orange, etc.). The idea being that you can use design and psychological trickery to get people to click.
Or you can build your Click to Apply ratio by filling your landing page with content that tells a compelling story and gets people to read more and click more. It gives people a reason to keep going. It maximizes the value of the people who click your ad.
In Between Days: Recruiting Content Boosts the Value of Your Search Engine Marketing.
Search engine marketing campaigns aren’t like regular media campaigns. With a big enough check, I can buy space during the Super Bowl and show you 30 seconds of turtles racing.
No logo, no call to action, no reason why – I just wanted to play it and the network is happy to sell it to me; I can do with the 30 seconds pretty much whatever I want, within reason.
SEM doesn’t work that way. If you search “nursing jobs in Boston” and Google suggests you look at my turtle racing video, you are going to stop using Google. So Google is committed to making sure the ads that someone sees when they search for nursing jobs direct people to nursing jobs.
To do this, Google assigns a quality score on the landing page based on a lot of things, but mostly on the content of the page and the kinds of links pointing to it.
Point your Nursing Jobs in Boston ad to your nursing job description and you will be one of hundreds (if not thousands) of employers with very similar job descriptions. If you build content around Nursing Jobs in Boston, and point your ad to it, it will have a higher quality score for that keyword.
Why does that matter? Because the higher your quality score, the lower you have to bid to be the top-rated ad. So yes, building good, targeted content can lower your SEM campaign score by increasing your landing page quality score.
Pictures of You: Recruiting Content Creates Candidate Engagement and Excitement.
Surely you remember the J. Peterman catalog (or at least the Seinfeld episodes dedicated to it). How could a catalog selling women’s clothing stand out in the crowded market of later 1980’s catalog shopping? It did it by telling stories about each piece of clothing. This content, when done well, generates excitement and engagement for its products.
The same idea can and should be applied to your jobs. Tell the story not just of your company, but of your department, your tribe, and the job itself. Think of how pictures of that empty desk surrounded by potential co-workers and future friends can turn a boring job description into something more.
Wrap that job description in quotes from every new co-worker saying what a successful applicant for this role would have, each written in their own words. A picture of the coffee shop they’ll be getting their morning oatmeal from and a map of all the best places to get lunch paints a picture.
Content gives your social media teams something to talk about. Heck, it gives your employees something to talk about with their friends – people who might make excellent candidates.
So there you have it: six ways content can solve your talent acquisition problems. Whether your problem involves getting more people to apply or managing the increasing prices of media, content can do a lot of good. It’s no magic bullet, certainly.
But let’s be honest: the only reason you made it to the bottom of this blog post is because of good content.
Read more at Meshworking from TMP Worldwide.
By James Ellis
It's very possible that the rumors are true and that James Ellis was a mild-mannered digital marketer who was bitten by a radioactive recruiter six years ago and now has strange new powers. But what we do know is that James is a leading voice in employer branding, developing and activating dozens of brands of every size, running The Talent Cast podcast for more than three years, writing the Employer Brand Headlines newsletter and writing for a number of industry publications. His mission is to evolve the conversation around recruiting and hiring. He is currently the Director of Employer Brand at Universum. He lives in Chicago with his wife and daughter.
Weekly news and industry insights delivered straight to your inbox.